You may be confused about what is the right thing to do after a limb injury like a fall or sprain. Should I ice the area? Should I apply some gels, ointments or home remedies? Can I do hot fomentation?
The RICE method is a simple self care formula to reduce pain, swelling and prevent further damage. RICE method has four components: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Read on to know what is good for you..
The wisest thing to do after an injury is to take rest. Stop playing or exercising if the injury occurred during these activities. Do not try to continue to play or exercise in the hope that the pain would go away. Limit your activities to bare essential movements only. Use a walker or crutch support if you have difficulty bearing weight on the leg.
The next best thing to do is icing of the affected area to control the swelling and reduce the pain. Application of cold for 10-15 minutes every 4-6 hourly is useful especially in the first 2 days. Ice packs may be used if available. Otherwise a few ice cubes inside a towel would do the trick.
A crepe bandage may be applied over the involved joint to provide compression and prevent further swelling. Make sure the crepe bandage is at a comfortable tightness and is not causing numbness or blocking blood supply of the limb. Always remove the crepe bandage and release the compression if there is increased pain. Avoid crepe bandages in children.
Elevation involves raising the affected joint or limb above heart level. It is very easy to achieve this. You may elevate the ankle by using pillows. The hand and wrist will benefit from a properly adjusted sling. This elevation will prevent unnecessary swelling and excessive pain.
Consult an Orthopaedician if the swelling, pain and discomfort does not resolve quickly. If you are unable to walk or use the limb do not hesitate to seek medical help. Fractures have to be ruled out in ankle injuries. Injuries to the knee may involve Ligaments or Meniscus.
You may like to read up about Meniscal injuries here.
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